Vol. 14 No. 11
May 24 - June 6, 2010
Pope explains importanceof common good
VATICAN CITY, May 24, 2010—The common good is what gives meaning to progress, protectingdevelopment from possible negative consequences, says Benedict XVI.
The Pope afrmed this Saturday when he received members of the Centesimus Annus Pro Pontice
Foundation, which promotes the social doctrine of the Church.He explained that progress would be “limited to the sole production of material goods” if it werenot oriented toward the common good.
“Progress and development are necessary,” the Holy Father afrmed, “but if they are not oriented
to the common good, they lead to the negative consequences of the prevalence of consumerism, waste,poverty and excess.”
However, the Pontiff claried that the common good is not a single goal, but rather a composite
of many goods, material, cognitive, institutional, moral and spiritual, the latter two being of highestimportance.“The commitment to the common good of the family of peoples, as for every society, entails, therefore,
taking care of and of making use of a complex of institutions,” he claried.
In this regard, the priority that will ensure development for all peoples is “to do one’s utmost to
recognize the true scale of goods-values,” Benedict XVI reected. “Only thanks to a correct hierarchy
of human goods is it possible to understand what type of development must be promoted.”
Certain principles guide the way for integral human development, the Pope continued, naming“subsidiarity and solidarity, as well as the interdependence between state, society and market.”
Bishops in Englandand Wales condemnabortion ads on TV
LONDON, England, May 23, 2010—The Catholic Bishops’ Con
-ference in England and Wales has condemned TV ads promot-ing abortion services that recently aired throughout the UnitedKingdom, charging that the “exploitative promotion” of abortionis not “in the interests of the health or psychological well-beingof women.”
Marie Stopes International, a self-described non-prot orga
-nization for sexual and reproductive health, will run TV ads forabortion services throughout the U.K. as part of their “Are youlate?” campaign which is set to air until June 4.“We hope the new ‘Are you late?’ campaign will encouragepeople to talk about abortion more openly and honestly, and
empower women to make condent, informed choices abouttheir sexual health,” said Dana Hovig, CEO of Marie Stopes
International on May 20.On Thursday, a spokesperson for the bishops condemnedthe ads, stating that “services which offer or refer for abortion
– whether commercial or not-for-prot organizations – should
not be allowed to advertise on broadcast media.”“Abortion is not a consumer service,” the spokesperson added.“To present it as such erodes respect for life and is highly mis-leading and damaging to women, who may feel pressured intomaking a quick decision, which can never be revoked.”“Moreover, to allow the broadcasting advertising of abortion-referral services is, in effect, to allow the exploitative promotionof these services and is not in the interests of the health or psy-chological well-being of women.“The Bishops of England and Wales encourage and supportwomen to make informed choices about their emotional, psycho-logical and physical well-being,” the statement continued, addingthat the bishops “support a number of charities which do this, in
particular the organization called ‘LIFE’ which offers conden
-tial information, counseling and practical help and support forwomen contemplating abortion, suffering after pregnancy lossor struggling to cope after abortion.”
John Smeaton, director for the U.K.-based Society for theProtection of Unborn Children (SPUC), likewise condemnedthe ad campaign, charging that “Marie Stopes may claim to bea non-prot organization, but they have a nancial interest in
drumming up demand for abortion.”
Smeaton added that the pro-abortion organization has a history
of displaying a “cavalier attitude to obeying legal restrictionsregarding abortion, and has been implicated in illegal abortionsoverseas.”
“Although Marie Stopes claims to be a charity helping wom
-en,” he noted, “its huge multi-national revenue means it canafford TV advertising, which is hugely expensive. This creates
an unfair playing eld, as pro-life groups simply cannot afford
any such advertising.”“Allowing abortion to be advertised on TV will lead tomore unborn babies being killed and to more women and
girls suffering the after-effects of abortion,” Smeaton under
-scored. “Abortion ads will trivialize abortion. It is an insult
to the hundreds of women hurt by abortion every day. Such
ads are offensive and will mislead viewers about the realityof abortion.”The ads have already been banned in Northern Ireland, wherethe United Kingdom’s Abortion Act of 1967 does not apply.
Receives group that promotes Church’s social doctrine
“In a global society, made upof many peoples and variousreligions, the common good andintegral development is obtainedwith the contribution of all,” he
And in this effort, the HolyFather contended, religion is de-cisive, “especially when it teachesfraternity and peace, and when,in a society marked by seculariza-tion, it instructs the faithful to givespace to God and to be open to thetranscendent.”The Pontiff lauded the founda-tion for their work in promotingsocial doctrine, saying it “responds to the most profound expectations of man, and your commitmentto further it and spread it is a valid contribution to build the ‘civilization of love.’”
The Centesimus Annus Pro Pontice Foundation was founded by Pope John Paul II in 1993. As a lay
foundation, it aims to promote the social doctrine of the Church in professional and business sectors.
VATICAN CITY, May 21, 2010—Benedict XVI warmly thanked Rus-sian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill for a concert celebrating the Pontiff'sApril birthday and anniversary of election.Beyond his words of gratitude to the Orthodox leader, the HolyFather used the occasion to promote harmony between East andWest, particularly in light of Europe's growing distance from itsChristian roots.The concert Thursday featured some of the great works of 19th
and 20th century Russian composers. It closed with "Song of the As
-cension," a symphony composed by a leading prelate in the RussianOrthodox Church: Archbishop Hilarion Alfeyev of Volokolamsk,chairman of the Department of External Affairs of the MoscowPatriarchate.
The Pontiff reected that the concert opened a window to the
"soul of the Russian people and with it the Christian faith, which
nd an extraordinary expression precisely in the divine liturgy and
the liturgical singing that always accompanies it."Benedict XVI, himself an accomplished musician, noted the"profound original bond" between Russian music and liturgicalsinging."In the liturgy and from the liturgy is unleashed and begins toa great extent the artistic creativity of Russian musicians to createmasterpieces that merit being better known in the Western world,"he said.
Pope points to music as harmony of East and West
Drawing a deeper meaning from the concert, the Bishop of Rome
afrmed that in music there is already a certain fulllment of the
"encounter, the dialogue, the synergy between East and West, aswell as between tradition and modernity."Citing Pope John Paul II's appeal for Europe to breathe with
its "two lungs," the German Pontiff reected that "contemporary
culture, particularly European culture, runs the risk of amnesia, offorgetfulness and, therefore, of abandonment of the extraordinarypatrimony fostered and inspired by the Christian faith.""The Christian roots of Europe, in fact, are constituted not only byreligious life and the testimony of so many generations of believers,but also by the inestimable cultural and artistic patrimony, pride andprecious resource of the peoples and countries in which the Christianfaith, in its different manifestations, has dialogued with cultures andart, has animated and inspired them, fostering and promoting asnever before the creativity of the human genius," he said.
The Pope afrmed that these roots are still alive in East and West
and "must inspire a new humanism, a new season of authentic hu-man progress, to respond effectively to the numerous and at timescrucial challenges that our Christian communities and our societiesmust face, beginning with secularization, which not only leads todoing without God and his plan, but which ends by denying humandignity itself, in a society regulated solely by egotistical interests."
"Let us make Europe breathe with its two lungs again," the Pontiff
urged, "let us again give a soul not only to believers but to all peoples
of the continent, let us promote condence and hope again, rooting
them in the age-old experience of the Christian faith!"
BRUSSELS, Belgium, May 20, 2010—The
Bishops of Belgium have apologized for ag-gression against victims of sexual abuse andfor the inadequate support they received.In a pastoral letter, they pledge "concretemeasures" to prevent further abuses.The message, which was delivered by wayof a pastoral letter to the Belgian Church,was released within weeks of the bishops'
visit Vatican for their "ad Limina." One of
the subjects the Belgian bishops discussed
with the Pope and Roman Curia ofcials was
sexual abuse against minors.In the letter to the Belgian faithful, thebishops addressed the "serious damage" to
the condence between priests and the faith
-ful which was caused by the "shockwave" ofBishop Roger Joseph Vangheluwe's resigna-tion on April 23 over his admission that hesexually abused a boy.Emphasizing that "the safety and protec-tion of children takes priority over anything
Belgian bishops apologize for treatment
of abuse cases, vow changes
else," they acknowledged that Church of-
cials did not fully realize the "extent of
the child abuse tragedy and its tremendousconsequences."With this silence, the reputation of theChurch institution and of her ministers hasbeen placed ahead of the dignity of youngvictims," they stated.“We ask forgiveness of all abuse victimsfor the aggression and for the inadequate
support they received. Likewise, we ask for
forgiveness both from the relatives of the vic-tims and from society for the consequencesof such abuse," the letter said."The abusers got a second chance, while
the victims carried in their esh the injuries
that cannot or can hardly heal," it said. "Wethank the victims who found the courage tobreak through this wall of silence by tellingwhat happened to them."The Belgian Church leaders added thatthey hope that "the path of reconciliationwill still be open to us" and noted that this"crisis" forces those with responsibility inthe Church to “face the problems, call themby their name, and address them with thecooperation of competent persons."The bishops pledged to take action toconfront the situation through "concretemeasures, with the support of Benedict XVI.”They also vowed to create more stringententrance requirements for candidates tothe priesthood, to commit themselves toproviding effective supervision and supportto pastoral workers and to draft a code ofethics for those who work with children orvulnerable adults.The letter closes with a message of grati-tude for those who work within the Churchfor a "more humane and just world" and
a prayer that the Holy Spirit give them
"enough wisdom and courage to build a
church that reects the genuine love of God
BANGKOK, Thailand, May
24, 2010—Lay Catholics were
among some 3,000 Bangkok resi-dents who helped clean up themess left behind after red shirtprotesters were dispersed from acentral commercial district.“The recent tragedy gives rise toa sense of hopelessness among all
Catholics join Bangkok’s post-riot clean up
Thais but we cannot despair,” said
Sittichai Trisopha who is active in
various Church organizations.“It seems like a nightmare,” hesaid. “We must learn from thistragedy and pain. This must nothappen again. The governmentand red shirts must dialogue.”He was speaking on May 23during a clean up operation ofareas occupied by the protest-ers. The Bangkok MetropolitanAdministration organized theclean up.Arsonists and rioters left manyareas in downtown Bangkok inruins on May 19, after red shirtleaders announced an end totheir occupation of a centralcommercial district.
Sittichai, who came with his
family, said he invited at least 15other lay Catholics to take part inthe clean up.“The roads and the buildings
can immediately xed but we do
not know how long it will take to
x the wounded hearts and minds
of the people,” said Parinda Vapi-kung, from the Catholic Commis-sion for Justice and Peace, whoalso took part in the clean up.
She said the reconciliation pro
-cess must continue and pointedout that it is most urgent to“tackle poverty and inequality,”
the root causes of the conict.
Catholics are a small part ofThai society “but still we cando something for the country,however small.”
Bangkok Governor Sukhumb
-hand Paripatra told the volun-teers, “This is a time to rebuildBangkok and the country. Thepsychological recovery fromthe recent violence may takelonger than the rehabilitation ofthe city.”More than 52 people have beenkilled in political violence sinceMay 14, and hundreds morehave been injured, according toThai media reports.
© w w w . t o p n e w s . i n
Russian OrthodoxPatriarch Kirill
© w w w . r f e r l . o r g
SHANGHAI, China, May 24, 2010—Catholics in
mainland China prayed on May 24, the day dedi-cated to prayers for the the Church in the country,although many were unable to visit the popular
Sheshan Marian shrine in a Shanghai suburb.
The number of pilgrims has not returned to thelevel before Pope Benedict XVI issued his letterto Chinese Catholics in June 2007 dedicating
the feast of Our Lady, Help of Christians as thespecial prayer day and mentioning the Sheshan
shrine in particular, say local sources.This was because the government-sanctionedChinese Catholic Patriotic Association and Bish-ops’ Conference of the Catholic Church in Chinahave issued notices since then discouragingcross-province pilgrimages during the Marianmonth of May, the sources say.This year’s notice said that as the World Expo
is currently taking place in Shanghai, Catholicswho wish to go to Shanghai should follow the
arrangements set by their provincial CatholicPatriotic Associations and local dioceses and then
get approval from Shanghai diocese.
Mainland Catholics pray for China Church
“These so-called ’arrangements’ actually meansforbidding pilgrimages,” the sources said.A priest in a southeastern province told UCANews his parishioners have wanted to make a
pilgrimage to Sheshan for more than three years
now.He and other clergy in various parts of main-land China have decided to hold Masses andother devotions in their parishes on the prayerday.About 3,000 local Catholics gathered at
Sheshan on May 24 to celebrate the shrine’s
feast day.Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Xing Wenzhi of
Shanghai presided at the prayer session and
procession, and at Mass at the shrine’s Minor
Basilica of St. Mary.
Pilgrims prayed for the Church in China, theWorld Expo, and victims of disasters.In Rome, Pope Benedict mentioned the day
of prayer at his reection following the middayRegina Caeli at St. Peter’s Square on May 23,Pentecost Sunday.